These quick, simple tasks can help prevent coming home from a vacation to a home disaster.
Turn Off the Main Water Supply
Closing the valve on the main supply line cuts off water to the house but still allows outside sprinklers to work. If you do spring a leak inside, the line will be under some initial pressure, but it will not continue to spray water. Instead of thousands of gallons of water, you might have 50 gallons from the hot-water tank leak. It takes a little bit of time, and it can save thousands of dollars in potential damage.”
Check The Sump Pump
Another type of water—rainwater—can also be a nightmare. If your sump pump fails while you’re gone and a major storm comes around, you could return to a flooded basement.
So make sure the sump pump is working before you leave town. Dump a bucket of water in there so you don’t get that kind of surprise when you come home. The pump should turn on when the pit fills with water.
Turn Up the Thermostat—But Don’t Turn Off the A/C Unit
If you have a programmable thermostat, you’re golden. You can set and hold the temperature to have the house at 85 degrees while you’re gone [in the summer], then the day before you get back, get it down to 72,” he explains. If you have a manual thermostat, it’s still worth turning it up while you’re gone to avoid wasting energy. You’ll just have to deal with a hot house when you get back.
If any of your televisions, computers, and other electronics are plugged directly into the wall rather than into a surge protector, pull the plugs in case a power surge happens while you’re away. If you do have them all run through surge protectors, you can simply flip the switch to power them off.
Light Rooms With Timers
To make your house appear occupied and a less appealing target for burglars, put timers on lights in different rooms of your home.
Now, you can control lighting from anywhere using a Wi-Fi-enabled dimmer. Set lighting schedules from your phone using an app.
If you aren’t ready to buy a smart lighting system, you can purchase timers from the home store for less than $10 apiece. The timers turn on and off the lights at different times of the night, as if someone in the house were flipping a switch.
Don’t Forget Your Plants!
You know to put your pets in a kennel or ask a friend to care for them before you leave, but don’t forget about your pet plants!
Most indoor plants are pretty resilient, and left unattended for a week or less, they’ll do just fine if you water them thoroughly before you leave and make sure they have adequate light. If you plan to be away longer than a week, you should make arrangements for a friend or neighbor to water the plants. Make sure that you pick someone that knows how to care for plants.
If that’s not possible, here’s another option. You can create a slow-release watering device for each plant by using plastic soda bottles.
- Clean a bottle for each plant, and try to match the size of the bottle to the size of the plant.
- Fill the bottles with water, but before you screw on the caps, drill one or two very small holes in them.
- Then just before you leave, turn the bottle upside down, and bury it into the soil of each plant container.